WASHINGTON, Sept. 2 (Xinhua) -- U.S. will keep air operations in Iraq with the aim to support Iraqi and Kurdish forces in their fight against terrorists from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and will continue to provide humanitarian assistance to Iraqi civilians, said the Pentagon.
While addressing a news briefing held Tuesday, Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said aircraft from U.S. Central Command, Australia, France and the United Kingdom delivered humanitarian aid over the weekend to thousands of Shia Turkomen living in the Iraqi village of Amirli. The village was besieged by ISIL forces two months ago and has been cut off from food, water and medical supplies since then.
"In conjunction with this airdrop, U.S. aircraft conducted coordinated airstrikes against nearby ISIL forces in order to support this humanitarian assistance operation and thereby helped facilitate the actual delivery of the aid," said Kirby. "So far, we believe the mission has succeeded ...because we're able to get needed provisions to the people there." "And we know that it got into the right hands and that they've been able to sustain themselves with the food and water that's been provided."
"One of our core military objectives in Iraq is to join with international partners to address humanitarian crises, and when and where we have the ability to do that, we're going to do it, " said Kirby, who added further missions remain a possibility.
U.S. forces also conducted additional airstrikes over the weekend against ISIL forces in the vicinity of the Mosul Dam. The strikes serve two purposes: to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe if the dam were to be breached and to protect U.S. personnel and facilities, according to Kirby.
Since the dam was recaptured by Iraqi and Kurdish security forces, ISIL forces have continued to try to retake the dam, the press secretary said. "And so as long as ISIL continues to threaten the facility, we'll continue to strike them," Kirby added.
The press secretary stressed, however, the solution in Iraq will not be a U.S. military one.